Sign

A sign is a representation of an object that implies a connection between itself and its object. A natural sign bears a causal relation to its object—for instance, thunder is a sign of storm. A conventional sign signifies by agreement, as a full stop signifies the end of a sentence. (This is in contrast to a symbol which stands for another thing, as a flag may be a symbol of a nation).

The way a sign signifies is called semiosis which is a topic of semiotics and philosophy of language.

How a sign is perceived depends upon what is intended or expressed in the semiotic relationship of:

  • Signification
  • Significance (i.e. meaning)
  • Importance

Thus, for example, people may speak of the significance of events, the signification of characters, the meaning of sentences, or the import of a communication. Different ways of relating signs to their objects are called modes of signification.

Uses of conventional signs are varied. Usually the goal is to elicit a response or simply inform. That can be achieved by marking something, displaying a message (i.e. a notice), drawing attention or presenting evidence of an underlying cause (for instance, medical symptoms signify a disease), performing a bodily gesture, etc.

Read more about Sign:  Nature, Types

Famous quotes containing the word sign:

    It is a sign of contraction of the mind when it is content, or of weariness. A spirited mind never stops within itself; it is always aspiring and going beyond its strength.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592)

    Don’t pay any attention to Ah Ling. He has a mania for quoting Confucius. And Charlie Chan.
    —Joseph O’Donnell. Clifford Sanforth. Mrs. Houghland, Murder by Television, reassuring her friends after the houseboy has pointed out a sign of ill omen (1935)

    There is an innocence in lying which is the sign of good faith in a cause.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)